So much for predictions…
-the midterm elections
-the weather report
-the time left after a difficult diagnosis
-the length of a relationship
-the path chosen after college
-life without a college degree
-the length of one’s life
And the most frightening, difficult and misguided of all predictions: when the world will end. Our readings today are filled with what it’s going to be like when Justice will finally have the very last word in this world, when God will make his Presence known, yes, and the end will come with much turbulence, fire, and brimstone, not the least caused by pompous, self righteous preachers. I have a feeling they are going to be very surprised at how it all turns out…. And ends.
These readings are difficult, uncomfortable, even earth shattering and very hot, but out of these stinging words are the following words: just persevere. Stop predicting, stop thinking that these are the worst of times because they aren’t, stop thinking it is all fruitless and not worth the struggle to be a force of goodness and beauty and truth. Don’t ever give up on the power of goodness.
Persevere. You all know what it’s like to just keep moving forward in the midst of disappointment, failure, suffering and rejection. Our Catholic faith is on a collision course with the world around us, as voices in the larger culture are clamoring to drown out the voice of the gospel, a voice that treasures each and every human life. A voice that believes we CAN rise out of the many injustices and be a voice and witness of justice, a response devoid of any violence. We are being called to stand fast, in gentle but certain voice, to persevere.
As our liturgical year comes to an end next weekend, we will quietly move into the season of Advent hope. We enter that season surrounded by images of families gathering around the bedside of a suffering loved one…of couples yearning to create new life… of children looking at the sights of the season with eyes of joy, of the immigrant, refugee and prisoner being welcomed, of religions and nations speaking peace to each other.
I’m short, we know Christ will return, we know the world will come to an end… we just don’t know when. In the meantime, we persevere, hold our heads up and keep moving forward , living out the gospel beatitudes, blessings given to us by Christ, Himself.
If we can strive to live these eight beatitudes, we have absolutely nothing to fear, except to fear the name of the Lord, a fear that isn’t cowering or frightful, but a response of awe, rooted in joy.
Keep living life to the fullest